The leasing giant’s CarCost Index studied the costs of car ownership and usage in 11 European countries – said to be the first time that all the cost elements of an automobile have been mapped out in such detail at an international level using this index methodology – and found that the Netherlands is the most expensive country in Europe to drive a car.

On average, Dutch motorists spend between €600 (£463) and €800 (£617) on their cars each month, depending on their fuel choice. This was followed by Italy, Spain and then the UK, where driving a petrol car costs €600 (£463) per month on average and €630 (£486) for diesels.

In Germany and the Czech Republic however, monthly costs are significantly lower, particularly for diesel cars.

LeasePlan added that the cost of driving a diesel car can vary as much as €350 (£270) a month across Europe

The annual LeasePlan CarCost Index provides an overview of the total cost elements of a car in the C-segment (20,000km per year, on the basis of three years). This analysis is based on factors such as purchase price, depreciation, insurance, repair costs and maintenance, taxes and fuel costs. Fixed costs, such as maintenance and taxes, represent 70% of the total cost ─ indicating that motorists have minimal influence on the overall cost. Depreciation is the largest of these fixed costs, representing 36%. Within the 11 countries surveyed in Europe, the average fuel costs are highest in Italy but the UK has the highest diesel price and the second highest petrol price.

The research also found that the UK has most expensive list prices for petrol cars and second most for diesels after Switzerland.

Sven-Torsten Huster, chief operating officer of LeasePlan: "Statements are often made that certain European countries are more expensive for motorists compared to others. Yet there was insufficient research to confirm these suspicions until now. In order to compare European markets you must thoroughly understand them and have insight into regulatory differences. There is much more to take in to consideration than just purchase price or taxes.”